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Collaboration Essential

 Eric Stern, professor at the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 29, 2018) – Can better collaboration between academics and practitioners improve emergency management?

As a chapter author in the “Handbook of Disaster Research” second edition, Eric Stern, a professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, argues for viewing the field as a single domain in which researchers and practitioners can come together to improve their understanding and outcomes with regard to disaster management and response.

The chapter is co-written with Joe Trainor of the University of Delaware and Tony Subbio, an emergency management practitioner.

“In the chapter, we identify a number of ways that researchers and practitioners can and should engage in the pursuit of useful and usable knowledge about disasters and emergencies,” Stern said. “Practitioners can share experience, provide healthy skepticism, and hold researchers accountable by asking the invaluable ‘so what’ question. A more collaborative relationship would offer significant advancements to the field.”

“The overarching message is to be more receptive and respectful of what the other can bring to the table,” he added.

“Handbook of Disaster Research” second edition.
“Handbook of Disaster Research” second edition.

Stern and Trainor organized a session on this topic several years ago at a National Science Foundation workshop, which was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the University of Delaware Disaster Research Center (DRC).

UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez — a former director of the DRC who also attended that workshop — is a co-editor of the first and second editions of the disaster research handbook.

“I have been a longtime admirer of President Rodríguez’s work and am glad our paths have converged at UAlbany,” Stern said. “The handbook editors were demanding and constructively critical, which certainly helped us to improve the piece through successive drafts.”

The handbook’s second edition reflects some of the foundational topics for disaster studies; current topics of interest; as well as new and emerging trends in the field. It aims to have a significant and positive impact on disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The e-edition is now available.

Stern is also a co-author of the second edition of “The Politics of Crisis Management,” which was recently endorsed in Emergency Management and shared with the Mayor and key emergency management leaders in Seattle.

You can learn more about his research and expertise here.

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